Russia-United States summit 2018 in Finland | Helsinki Summit 2018
Date: July 16, 2018
Participating nations: United States of America and Russian Federation
Venue: Presidential Palace, Helsinki
US President Donald Trump and his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin met in Helsinki for a private summit. The meeting was held without support and staff, with only interpreters in the room beside the presidents.
Helsinki was chosen as the location for the meeting because it had also been the venue for the Helsinki accords. These were a series of agreements between US and Russia to reduce tensions at the height of the Cold War.
Background of Helsinki Summit:
On July 13, 2018, Deputy Attorney General of the United States Rod Rosenstein announced the indictment of 12 Russian officers. The charges against them related to the hack of the DNC servers as well as money laundering through Bitcoin. A lot of Trump allies expected him to castigate the Putin for Russian interference in the US elections. However, this did not happen. No official agenda set for the meeting beforehand.
Press Conference after the Summit:
The meeting was unique because not only was there no agenda but no official communique was published afterwards. What little is known about the meeting is known because of the press conference afterwards. Asked point-blank whether he believed Putin or the US intelligence agencies, President Trump appeared to favor the former. President Putin also made about letting US investigators interview the Russian officers indicted. Later it turned out that the offer was made in exchange for Russian investigators getting to question Americans. This included former American ambassador to Russia Michael McFaul.
Reaction of Americans on Trump’s comments:
The US intelligence community and politicians across the board reacted sharply to Trump’s comments. Members of his own Republican party called for explanations from the President. Former Presidential candidate John McCain called it “the most disgraceful performance by a US President” in history. The US Senate unanimously voted on a non-binding resolution rejecting the idea that a US citizen be questioned. Later, President Trump played his comments to a double negative mistake.
Some Amazing Facts of Helsinki Summit:
- Helsinki was chosen as the location for the meeting because it had also been the venue for the Helsinki accords. These were a series of agreements between US and Russia to reduce tensions at the height of the Cold War.
- The Helsinki Summit 2018 was hosted by the Finnish President Sauli Niinisto.